Ok so I lost (no I know where they are, but they have resigned or will resign their practice) 3 doctors in the last month. Two left me, meaning they resigned their practice and moved on, and one, well one I left because he was connected to one of the resigned doctors and his services were no longer needed, if the main person was not there.
So what is the responsibility of a doctor when they go away? If they give prescriptions, they at some level, I suspect should help you find a prescriber that hey recommend. One of the two who left me did not do so. As I type I am listing in the wind knowing I need a new set of scripts in 30 days and guess what, I don’t have a good place to go. If they have seen you regularly do they have an obligation to provide an alternative that is at least close to their expertise? The other provider who closed up shop did not. In fact she left, did not say goodbye, sold their practice and boom they were gone. The doctor who stepped in (this was an ophthalmologist) who sold and turned her client list over to an optometrist. When I walked in to my appointment with the ophthalmologist I was greeted with a sign that said optometrist. Instead of diabetic eye check, I got fitted for glasses. When I objected, I still got fitted for glasses. When I didn’t buy them, I was reminded that my prescription is out of date.
I mean hey I got to optometrist to get new glasses. I never appreciated the way the former ophthalmologist did glasses. I mean hey when I want glasses, I find one, and I buy my glasses. When I want a diabetic eye check I see an ophthalmologist. It is not difficult to understand the difference between the two. But when you show up and there has been a switch, well, let’s just say oops.
Actually I was pretty upset and I am seeking out a new ophthalmologist to carry on with the diabetic eye checks. Guess what, I am not a medical doctor but I can tell the difference. It generally starts with that sign on the wall that says, now hold on, Doctor of Ophthalmology. I suppose so long as my glasses work, I can at least tell the difference.
So back to the main question, what responsibilities do doctors have when they change their practices? Do they have an obligation to tell patients before the big day? Do they have an obligation to help patients find new health care providers? With apologies to my doctors, both I would call friends, I think they do. Back to the ophthalmologist, I have a cataract that needs removed. Had I known she was leaving I would have had it removed. To make matters worse, when you call today they still say the name of the ophthalmologist, vision center. Call old ophthalmologist vision center. That is a special twist. You have to love it, but for me, not so much.
So if doctors need to give notice, do patients? I always try to say goodbye to the doctor and office staff. Let’s take a recent event; I completed a course of treatment at a doctor’s office. I knew my time there was finished, so I said goodbye we shook hands and I went out and visited with the office staff. Certainly I did not give him 30 days’ notice. But then it was a mutual agreement.
So in my life I believe I left three doctors who had not completed their course of treatment. One I discussed it with her for several months before I left. The second I could not stand and I left no prior notice or hand shake, and the 3. I had to leave his area and I had only seen him once, again no handshakes. So If I expect more from doctors, do I owe them more? Probably, I did and if I were to see number 1 and 3 I would need to say I am sorry and apologize.
But there in again after this week, maybe it is every man for himself. If it is, then I am good with what happened. But if professionalism means common courtesy, well maybe they all need to say good buy.